Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ramanavami 2007 Contemplations

And for Ramanavami 2007, I tracked down some mentions of similarities between Rama-Lakshmana and Gaura-Nitai, irrepressibly sweet.

Can any Vaishnava hold himself when contemplating the explosive joy and gladness of the first meeting of Gauracandra and Nityananda?? When Gauracandra stood directly in front of Nityananda, the latter recognised Him as the lord of His life. Gauracandra indicated to Srivasa to recite a verse from Bhagavatam (barhApIDaM..), upon which Nityananda lost consciousness in ecstasy and fell to the ground after hearing it. After awaking, He roared in anand and danced up for joy, sighed deeply while gazing upon the beautiful face of Gauracandra and laughed loudly, clapping his hands and displaying all the ecstatic symptoms. The sight was frightening to some of the assembled Vaishnavas, who feared that Nityananda may hurt himself in the extremes of ecstasy.

dharite nArilA yadi vaiSNava-sakale
vizvambhara lailena ApanAra kole
When all the Vaishnavas failed to hold Him still, Vishvambhara personally took Him on His lap.

vizvambhara-kole mAtra gelA nityAnanda
samarpiyA prANa tAne hailA niSpanda

As soon as Nityananda was taken on Vishvambhara's lap,
He surrendered His life to Him and became motionless.
(CB 2.4.20-21)

bhAse nityAnanda caitanyera prema-jale
zakti-hata lakSmaNa ye-heNa rAma-kole

prema-bhakti-bANe mUrchA gela nityAnanda
nityAnanda kole kari' kaGde gauracandra

Nityananda floated on the waters of Caitanya's love, just as
Laksmana remained in the lap of Rama after being hit by the
shakti-shela arrow. Nityananda lost consciousness due to being hit
by the arrow of prema-bhakti. Holding Nityananda
on His lap, Gauracandra began to weep.

ki Ananda-viraha haila dui jane
pUrve yena zuniyAchi zrI-rAma-lakSmaNe

The bliss of separation relished between the Two was
alike to that relished by Sri Rama and Laksmana previously.

gauracandra nityAnande snehera ye sImA
zrI-rAma-lakSmaNa vahi nAhika upamA

There is no limit to the affection between Gauracandra and Nityananda
other than that which is found between Rama and Laksmana.
(CB 2.4.23-26)

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Krishna's love for Rama

In the most holy Sri Laghu-bhagavatamrita of Srimat Rupa Gosvamipada, some delightful verses inform us thus:

"Because He enjoys humanlike pastimes as Lord Krsna does, the form of Lord Ramacandra is most dear to Lord Krsna.

"The words of Lord Krsna in Brahmanda Purana:

'Matsya, Kurma, and many others are My personal forms. Still, Ramacandra, the son of Dasaratha, is most dear to My heart.'" (LB 2.305-306)


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gaura Purnima 2007

The beautiful day of our Beloved Lord once again; He who made it possible for all of us to have the remotest chance of saving ourselves from the never-ending quagmire of samsara, today was the day of His sublime and divine appearance.

Characterised by early-morning rain, so typical of British weather, until I recalled a quote from Srimat Kanupriya Gosvami that I posted some time ago:

"Just as the coming of the rainy season immediately cools the scorched and dusty wind and sky, similarly the coming of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately set the working of an inconceivably great energy into motion, which even after His disappearance will continue to dissipate the dust of the amount of the tamoguna (ignorance) and the scorching heat of the rajoguna (the quality of passion), and then, by raining the refreshing waters of prema, will keep the entire world cool and fresh for the remainder of the Kali yuga."

The beauty (or the irony) is not lost on me: How supremely appropriate for this year's Gaura Purnima to be characterised with an early-morning shower, when it had indeed been raining all night also. And to top it all off, there was a lunar eclipse today! Why this is so significant is because, for those of you who do not know, a lunar eclipse also occurred on the actual appearance day of Sriman Mahaprabhu in 1486! Can't shake the feeling that this year's occasion was special for some reason, but for some reason my dull intellect cannot fathom the whys and wherefores.

I didn't do much beyind my normal Gaura-purnima routine: arise early and do puja to my beautiful Sri-murtis, then go to the temple and participate in the programme there. Unfortunately I had car problems which meant I missed out on most of the festivities such as the long and special kirtan, abhishek, etc. But what the hey, I had already given abhishek to my own murtis so it's ok. Plus there was 24-hour kirtan going on so I guess I caught onto some of that. Japa, and reading of Chapter 2 of Caitanya-Bhagavata which deals with the birth pastimes. I may post my photos tomorrow, but right now I'd like to share some pearls from my reading that especially touched me, how beautiful they are. Of course the whole chapter (and the entire text) is beautiful, but these charming snippets hit me rather hard:

punaḥ bhakta-saṅge prabhu-pade namaskara
sphuruka jihvāya gauracandra avatāra

"I again offer my salutations at the feet of Prabhu and His devotees.
Let the topics of Sri Gauracandra become manifest on my tongue."
(CB 1.2.4)

avijñāta-tattva dui bhāi āra bhakta
tathāpi kṛpāya tattva karena suvyakta

"Although the truths of the Two Brothers and Their devotees
are unknowable, they can be understood only by Their mercy."
(CB 1.2.6)

saṁsāra tārite śrī-caitanya-avatāra
āpane śrī-mukhe kariyāchena aṅgikāra

"Sri Caitanya advented to deliver the entire universe.
He confirmed this with His own auspicious words."
(CB 1.2.48)

'navadvīpa'-hena grāma tri-bhuvane nāi
yaṅhi avatīrṇa hailā caitanya-gosāñi

"There is no place in the three worlds like
Navadvipa, where Caitanya Gosai appeared."

huṅkāra karaye kṛṣṇa-āveśera teje
ye dhvani brahmāṇḍa bhedi' vaikuṇṭhete bāje

"He [Advaita Acharya] loudly called
for Krishna in great ecstasy.
That sound pierced the universe and
echoed in the Vaikuntha realm."
(CB 1.2.82)

ei kṛpa kara, prabhu haiyā sadaya
yena āmā-sabāra dekhite bhāgya haya

[The demigods pray:]
"O Prabhu, please bestow
mercy on us so that we may
always have the fortune
of seeing Your pastimes."
(CB 1.2.190)

jiniñā ravi-kara, śrī-aṅga-sundara
nayane herai nā pāri
āyata locana, īṣat baṅkima,
upamā nāhika vicāri

"The beauty of the Lord's limbs outshine
the rays of the sun, and cannot be perceived
by the eyes. His broad eyes, upturned at the
ends, have no comparison."
(CB 1.2.212)

rūpa koṭi-madana jiniñā
hāse nija-kīrtana śuniyā

"His beauty defeats that of millions of Madanas,
and He smiles upon hearing the chanting of His glories."
(CB 1.2.218)

anyo 'nye āliṅgana, cumbana ghana-ghana,
lāja keha nāhi māne re
nadīyā-purandara - janama ullāse,
āpana-para nāhi jāne re

"Being overjoyed on the birth of the
Lord of Nadiya, the demigods repeatedly
embrace and kiss each other without consideration
of whether one is a friend or stranger."
(CB 1.2.231)